2021 AAHA/AAFP Feline Life Stage Guidelines

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Purr-fectly Tailored Care: Wellness for All Ages in the AAHA/AAFP Feline Life Stage Guidelines

Nurturing feline health throughout different life stages is a dynamic and nuanced process that demands targeted care at each juncture. The AAHA/AAFP Feline Life Stage Guidelines serve as an invaluable roadmap for veterinary professionals, offering tailored recommendations for the distinct needs of cats at various points in their lives. From the spirited days of kittenhood to the dignified senior years, these guidelines encapsulate comprehensive strategies aimed at promoting optimum health, preventing diseases, and addressing age-related concerns.

Key points from the Feline Life Stage Guidelines

Kittenhood (0-1 Year)

  • Emphasizes a focus on preventive care, including vaccinations, parasite control, and nutritional support.
  • Advocates for early socialization and behavior training to establish positive behaviors.
  • Encourages spaying/neutering, dental care initiation, and tailored nutrition for growth.

Young Adult (1 – 6 Years)

  • Continues preventive care with booster vaccinations and regular wellness exams.
  • Prioritizes maintaining ideal body weight through proper nutrition and regular exercise.
  • Recommends dental care, including professional cleanings, to prevent oral health issues.

Mature (7-10 Years)

  • Introduces regular screening for age-related conditions, such as kidney disease and dental problems.
  • Adjusts nutrition to accommodate the cat’s changing metabolic needs.

Senior (>10 Years)

  • Focuses on early detection of age-related diseases through regular health screenings.
  • Encourages senior-specific diets and tailored exercise routines to support overall well-being.
  • Highlights the importance of frequent veterinary check-ups and specialized care for geriatric cats.
  • Stresses monitoring and managing chronic conditions

The AAHA/AAFP Feline Life Stage Guidelines guide veterinary professionals through the evolving needs of cats from playful kittens to wise seniors. By advocating for preventive measures, tailored nutrition, and targeted health screenings, these guidelines empower veterinarians to optimize feline wellbeing at every turn. With an emphasis on early detection, specialized care, and compassionate end-of-life considerations, the AAHA Feline Life Stage Guidelines celebrate the uniqueness of each cat’s journey, ensuring a lifetime of health and happiness.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., CareCredit, Dechra Veterinary Products, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., Merck Animal Health, and Zoetis Petcare supported the development of the 2021 AAHA/AAFP Feline Life Stage Guidelines and resources through an educational grant to AAHA

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